Sunday, September 02, 2012

3GR Report: Labor Day Weekend

Heads down and rollin'
Labor Day Weekend. The traditional mark for the end of summer. It's been a long, hot summer of 3GR's!

I didn't really think I would have anyone show up for this one, because, ya know......being it is a holiday and all. But earlier in the week, Brian, a former co-worker, said he'd be in town with his Space Horse and wanted to come out to ride. Okay then! I would have at least one other rider beside me.

Then Friday, lo and behold, I heard from Jeremy who said he'd be down for a ride as well. Two! This was shaping up to work out nicely. More than I ever expected, that's for certain.

The day dawned sunny, with a breeze out of the Northeast. Not like Friday, which was marked by a close brush with what was Isaac, the tropical storm that made landfall earlier in the week in Louisiana. Friday the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and it was cloudy. But not on Saturday. That Northeast wind cleared that mess right on outta here for the morning at least.

I rolled out a bit early, so I took the route over at a reasonable pace, passing a hand full of dog walkers along the way. Weird. Where did these folks come from? I've never run across any of them before. Anyway, I pulled into the lot at Gateway Park on the Orange Crush and saw a rider making lazy circles. I assumed it was Brian, but much to my surprise it was Robert. I hadn't seen him on a 3GR in a long time, since he usually can not make it on Saturday mornings. Cool! Four riders on Labor Day.

Robert motors along up front....
Brian actually set the early pace at quite a high level going out. It didn't take long to find out that the wind was a bit pesky out there. We would be having it in our faces until we came back due South again, but that wouldn't be for a while.

Robert is quite happy to be rolling at a higher pace than I am used to as well, and Jeremy.....well he's just happy! (That's my "300 Miles of Gravel" reference right there, by the way.) So, suffice it to say that with my body not feeling 100% Saturday, it was a bit of a laborious slog to keep pace with those nutters. Ah well! That's why I do these rides anyway, right? I won't get better riding like Mrs. Gulch! (Another movie reference for ya!)

I eventually "woke up" enough to get back on the train and sit on their wheels breathing gobs of gravel dust. Shoulda worn a neckerchief. Yes- it is really dusty out there still. The roads have had new gravel patches laid down to cover the breaking up of the road beds in some places. Many spots are getting deeper in "moondust" and others have had big, deep holes, almost like burrows, appear in the roadway. These were hard to spot unless you were upon them, and that made for a couple of sharp intakes of air, since I wasn't prepared for such things.

Yep! We're havin' fun!

I saw the hawk again. That makes three weeks in a row now. Gotta be a nest there. Anyway, we went on past the Camp, and there was plenty of fresh gravel out there, which was pretty deep. Robert and I negotiated it well, but Brian and Jeremy got slowed down by it. Robert and I pulled up by the Eagle Lodge to let them get back on.

With everyone back together we charged the hills by the quarry and made the final right turn to get us out of the headwind. What a relief!

Now we were cruising down Streeter Road, and there are some decent rollers out that way. Brian had told me his commute was pretty flat, and it showed. Next thing I know, he's popped off the back. I sat up and motioned at Jeremy when he turned around. Robert was motoring along, as is his wont, too far out to call him back. He figured it out soon enough though.

We pulled Brian back up, but he wasn't going to go on at the higher rate Jeremy and Robert were comfortable with, so I rode back with Brian for a few miles until Robert and Jeremy sat up near the highway crossing.

The mileage rewards plan.
We all repaired to Cup Of Joe's in Cedar Falls for beverages and a bite. Then we decided to roll out and Jeremy and Robert actually accompanied me for part of my trip back home. It was a great way to start out another new month of 3GR rides.

Note: Just a reminder that on 9-22 there will be no 3GR ride  as I will be recovering from Interbike. The 3GR ride on 9-29 will be another version of the Fat Bike 3GR. Bring yer fat bike out for a gravelly good time! Then, that evening will be the Moonshine Metric. A few of us locals are talking about heading down for this fun ride. If you are interested, let me know and maybe e can arrange for folks to car pool down.

Hit the link to find out more about this ride. Be aware that there is an all night factor to this event, so be prepared. (ie: It won't all be about riding. If you want to hang out, be prepared!)

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